Jump to content

First Draft -- any suggestions welcome

Recommended Posts

Countless times in the last few years I have had close friends and casual acquaintances alike ask me, “Have you always wanted to be a physician assistant?” And although I would love to confirm the affirmative, the true answer is “no”. In fact, I didn’t want to work in medicine at all. Throughout my adolescence and into my high school years, I longed for nothing more than to play second base for the Boston Red Sox. However, as my body developed and my ability to hit a curveball (among other things) did not, I began to recognize that my dream may be, in fact, just a fantasy.


It was at this point that I began instead to consider a career in the medical field. Although my body may not have been able to hit a baseball like I wanted to, my mind had no trouble absorbing organelle functions and chemical structures.  After graduating high school, I spend much of the fall of 2009 living n northern Haiti shortly before the devastating 2010 earthquake. Although this experience had no medical bent – I lived with a pastor and volunteered in his church – it was a period which solidified my interest in medicine. Although I had been made aware of it before arriving in Haiti, I was astonished by the lack of rudimentary medical care available to the general, impoverished population. For example, I met a young boy who had attempted two weeks prior to steal food from a feral dog and had in return been bitten in the wrist. Although the bite had been insignificant, he had received no medical care. By the time I was introduced to him, his entire hand had swollen to impossible proportions and radiated heat. What in America could have been easily prevented with a sterile dressing and a basic antibiotic had become a limb- and potentially life-threatening emergency in Haiti. Though not always as shocking as the boy’s infected hand, I witnessed in Haiti a wide variety of medical conditions that could have been easily rectified with appropriate medicine.


After matriculating at Davidson College, I immediately started along the pre-medical track. However, I had always assumed that my core goals – helping people, being challenged in my work, providing a necessary service, being able to provide for my family, and being needed regardless of location – could only all be achieved by becoming a doctor. This rudimentary mindset led me to complete the entire pre-med program, including taking the MCAT. However, as I became more and more familiar with the PA profession, it became obvious to me that it was the career trajectory I had been searching for.  


I have always enjoyed working as a part of a team, and I see that as one of the strengths of the physician assistant position. Although there is unquestionable autonomy in the role, I believe the support available to a PA is invaluable. Although I rarely hesitate to take charge of a situation if I believe it necessary, thanks to my background guiding hiking and canoeing trips, I can easily appreciate deferring to the guidance of others as well. I believe this readily ties back to the “support net” available to a PA working as a member of a medical team. Other parts of a physician assistant’s life are greatly appealing to me as well – for instance, the flexibility to transition between specialties and plenty of time to devote to one’s family.


 Throughout my life I have been enormously blessed with things I did not earn – growing up in the United States with parents who prioritized me and my siblings above themselves, having a strong mind and an able memory, and getting a fantastic education, to name a few. I feel tremendously lucky to have been given these gifts, and I believe a career as a PA would allow me to pour back into those around me.


I’ve been fortunate to spend the last year working as a clinical research coordinator and volunteering as an EMT with my local rescue squad. My time as a CRC has allowed me to better grasp the roles that doctors and physician assistants fill in a private practice. Equally important, in my opinion, I have gained direct patient contact. I have learned how to develop rapport and build relationships with my patients by seeing and interacting with them on a weekly basis. In dealing with patients from a broad range of social and economic strata, I have witnessed first-hand the increased trust that patients develop when dealing with a provider they are comfortable with. I believe this ability to build relationships, and the mentality of “fix the person, not the problem” that my boss has drilled into me, will be important to me for the entirety of my medical career.


My gap year and post-graduate experiences have both been invaluable in molding me to whom I am now. In learning from a variety of providers in a diverse range of roles, I have developed proficient interpersonal abilities and tuned my communication skills. I am not so naïve as to think that I (or any prospective physician assistant) will be able to cure all sickness – however, I do believe that with the right training, I can care for and preserve health for a great number of patients. I can help those who are unable to help themselves and build relationships from a great patient population. This is, truly, why I want to be a PA.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first impression: delete the entire bit about high school and adolescence.  I don't mean to discredit or disrespect those periods of your life but your PS should focus on getting into PA school, not about you as a kid.


Focus on these areas:


1) Your understanding of what a PA is and where they fit in the medical model


2) Why you are a compelling candidate, without repeating your application


3) Why you would be a good PA



When it comes to your reasons for pursuing PA, steer away from generic explanations like helping people, working in a team, being there for a patient in need...there are a myriad of professions, many non-medical, which can adequately address those desires.


Try to cut down on wordiness and be more frank in your narrative delivery.  Instead of explaining that your time in Haiti didn't have a medical bent, just simply say that you spent time in Haiti as a missionary and develop a specific, conclusive idea from that thought.  The real substance is in the answers to 1-3 above, not necessarily how artistically you can deliver a setup.


I think you have the meat and potatoes to form an exquisite PS, keep refining it and you'll knock em dead.


PS - Keep track of your character limit now so you don't wind up 100 words over when you're ready to submit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More